Purple Heartwood

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Purpleheart Plugs by Scotty's Custom Organic Jewelry
Purpleheart Plugs by Scotty's Custom Organic Jewelry

Purple Heartwood (Peltogyne Densiflora) or Purpleheart, as it is more commonly known as, is a genus of 23 species of flowering plants in the family Fabaceae, native to tropical regions of Central and South America, where they occur in tropical rainforest.

They are medium-sized to large trees growing to 30-50 m tall, with trunk diameters of up to 1.5 m. The leaves are alternate, divided into a symmetrical pair of large leaflets 5-10 cm long and 2-4 cm broad. The flowers are small, with five white petals, produced in panicles. The fruit is a pod containing a single seed.

Its use in jewelry is limited, as it is more commonly used as a decorative element in fine woodworking (pens, knife handles, etc.).


The general characteristics of Purpleheart make it ideal for body jewelry. It is among the densest of readily available exotic hardwoods, has little to no porosity and turns a vibrant purple color when oxidized. When first cut, however, it is a dull and uninteresting brown color. The color change occurs over a span of about a month, depending on environmental conditions.

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